As much as I love to write about cooking, I myself am a professional cook in my everyday life (which explains why I almost never have time to post). One of the many amazing things about my line of work is the incredible people I have met along the way. Don’t get me wrong, the industry is crazy, and has plenty of downsides– but more on that later. Most cooks are just people who are so obsessed with cooking that they have dedicated their lives to learning more.
One of the best ways to learn is through others– and with that, I need to explain how this beautiful recipe fell into my lap.
This is Helen.
She’s just as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside, trust me. She’s a cook that came to the game after already pursuing another career– and as a result, has amazing skills cooking many of the dishes she grew up with, and pays homage to her Vietnamese heritage. While she learns French cuisine along with the rest of us, she has an amazing trick up her sleeve.
Normally, Helen doesn’t do much to bring attention to her delicious recipes– just simple Instagram posts and casual dinner parties for fellow cooks and family.
Her food should definitely be celebrated– the depth of flavor in her dishes and thoughtfulness to the detail is so necessary to honor a cuisine that is notoriously complex. So, after at least a few hours of begging her while prepping at work, Helen agreed to share one of her recipes with me, and the world suddenly seems like a happier place.
- 20 small to medium cleaned squid with tentacles.
- 1/2 lb ground pork (80/20 fat is best, but any will work)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 3 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 1-2 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- 3 stalks green onion (minced thinly)
- 1/2 cup bean thread noodles (soaked in warm water for 10 min, drained then chopped)
- 1/3 cup wood ear mushrooms (soaked in warm water for 10 min, drained and chopped
- Combine the pork, fish sauce, ground pepper, white pepper, garlic, sugar, salt, shallot, green onions, bean thread noodles and wood ear mushrooms.
- Let the pork mixture marinate for at least 5 minutes.
- Stuff the calamari using a small spoon or a piping bag. Seal the calamari by threading a toothpick at the end.
- In a frying pan on medium high heat, add the stuffed calamari with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover the pan with a lid and steam the calamari for 10 minutes. This will evenly and perfectly cook both the pork and calamari without drying them out.
- Then, remove the lid, cook uncovered with tablespoon of oil and tablespoon of oyster sauce until golden brown.
- Slice to the desired thickness and serve.
Hopefully I’ll be able to pick the brains of more of my fellow chefs– and share it all here.